PUBLICIST: Songs of our hearts: Meky Žbirka

Although the music of Meky Žbirka accompanied most of the music listeners in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, his different songs affected everyone differently. The editors of the music server chose their favorites and put them into an article from the series Songs of Our Hearts. Are yours chosen among us?


I know a lot of people in the Czech Republic who would like to have a Slovak president instead of our current head of state. That feeling is familiar to me. I felt the same way when Karel Gott won one Nightingale after another and I shook my head at it for many reasons. But I don’t want to write about them here now. In short – I’ve always been a little jealous of Meky our neighbors. His music didn’t bother me, the songs on the radio were played miserably. But he liked me like a man. I’ve always liked older people who have kept a young soul. And from all the conversations available to him, I felt like he was. Everyone knows that he loved the Beatles, but at the same time he had an overview of the current work of far less experienced artists in our country and in the world, and he knew what was going on. He loved music. A few months ago, while watching a documentary, I talked about how lovingly he cared for his vinyl collection. And as he told in the film about his love for his wife. And how much it meant to him that he could record at Abbey Road. At an age when he no longer had to pursue anything. Still, he wanted to record better and better things. To be honest, in addition to the notorious singles, I only heard the last few from his albums from beginning to end. They were great. And the very best I know of was the one where he sang to the symphony orchestra. I know only three performers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who did not disgrace themselves in cooperation with the orchestra and, on the contrary, raised their songs to the next level. He is one of them and the symphonic version of “Autumn Love” is proof of that. The song doesn’t need any further comment, it’s all in it. I wish I had known two months ago that the concert at the Ladder Awards in Pilsen would be one of his last. He worked on him perfectly healthy, he sang great, he talked for a long time between the songs, he joked … I should have at least given him a hand and thank him. So may you sing well in heaven, my Golden Nightingale. (Jan Trávníček).

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Forever Král, Výstaviště Holešovice within the Metronome Warm-Up, Meky, alongside his partner Honza Ponocný, closed the whole evening with “Dancing Barefoot”. Shear. I still can’t believe it was actually the last opportunity to see this music enthusiast and unmistakable singer. In a way, he may have been a lonely lighthouse in dark in the days of Czechoslovak pop music, when he was primarily driven forward by his collaboration with Lac Lučenič. Together they discovered the sounds of synthesizers and what was flying abroad (just like me on very short waves at the border with Germany). Maybe it was the morning The Human League who signed on to the sound of his records in solo beginnings. For me, these culminated in the recordings of “Nemoderný chalan”, “Chlap z ulice” and “Zlomky poznania”. Together with Lac, they formed a compact creative team and there were several musical gems on each album. Some of those years later came the television show “Rhythmmick,” in which Meky further developed the discovery of new music, although he never let himself be touched by his Beatles idol. To this day, I remember Lennon’s song “Jealous Guy” in the Roxy Music version, in which Bryan Ferry set a slightly different mood. It sounded there in a kind of retro window, and even now I remember the mischievous look of Mecca in his eyes. Recently, he also used his musical moderation in an interview series within the program “Doupě”, the continuation of which will unfortunately not arise. Among a number of his songs, “Mesto spí” (from “Nemoderný chalana”) deviates from its concept. It’s not a typical Meky hit, it even breaks the established rules for a radio-accessible song – it’s based on the urgency, atmosphere and long planes of the keys. I used to overlook her and preferred, for example, the hit “22 Days”, which this one plate launches. It wasn’t until time later that I came to her senses and fell in love with her. Miro Žbirka left me countless perfect songs, his outlook on life, the joy of music, modesty and that (English) gentlemanship. I didn’t even have time to order shots of whiskey that he ordered for us at the music server’s fifth birthday party, thanks anyway for everything! (Dan Hajek)

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Morning Sun, Evening Star / Charlie

I can describe my relationship with Miro Žbirk quite easily. Apart from Karel Gott and Olympika, I do not have an artist or a band in my numerous audio library, from which I would own more media. The very first time I was fifteen, I bought a blue cassette “22 dní / Best of” and the current state is twenty-nine CDs and LPs, two concert DVDs and two books. Paradoxically, a man who has always looked forward rather than backward has published several recapitulation works in recent years. Opulent three-album (in a limited numbered version even as a box with 6 LP) best of, two books “Close Up” and “Songbook” and a documentary. However, it was not because he did not have anything to offer at the moment. Like few people in the seventh decade of their lives, they kept the author and singing bar very high, and even on the last lines of “Meka” and “Double album” there were at least half of the songs that either became or could have become a hit. “Morning Sun, Evening Star” comes from the album “Meky” and Pete Brown had a beautiful lyrics. Perhaps also because the radio didn’t catch on to the song, Žbirka decided to use the melody one more time and on the next “Double Album” he provided the same melody under the name “Charlie” with a Slovak lyrics about one of his beloved dogs. A very strong melody and a beautiful atmosphere cannot be lost in a relatively economical arrangement. And Žbirka had it like this for a lot of other songs. (Milan Mencik)

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A ballad about wild birds

My memory of the Czechoslovak phenomenon named Miroslav Žbirka is slightly smiling, but even that belongs to the fact that you remember someone who is no longer here with us and whom you liked. His departure caught me completely unprepared, because not so long ago, he gave concerts or presented “Den”, I photographed his performance and at the same time admired his modesty, sense of British dry humor, but most of all the feeling for writing a catchy song. The year was 1982. At that time, I was around thirteen years old, as children of puberty, learning about the joys and sorrows of popular music at the time. We went to outdoor schools and looked at the schedule of popular discos to encourage classmates to dance as timid ears. At that time, in addition to all those David, Vávra and the like, songs from Mira Žbirka were heard. “White Flower”, closer to me more rock “Road at Forbidden Speed” and of course the popular “Atlantis”. I myself have never been a great dancer, and rather timidly, sitting in a corner, watching the rippling pairs, which were even meters apart when gliding. The only song that always gave me the courage to invite a friend to dance was “Ballad of Wild Birds”, a beautiful ballad from Žbirka’s solo debut “Doktor sen”. I met her for the first time close up she smelled birch hair of her classmate’s hair and felt and sensed the ripples of her hips. But most of all, I was fascinated by the beautifully constructed composition with a fragile to minimalist keyboard wall and urgent singing, which is wonderfully graduated at the end. Platonic love for the girl sailed on, but the song became my heartbeat. The longing song with a beautiful lyrics by Kamil Peter has experienced its restart again thanks to the film introduction of the film “Pupendo” and for me it is a song that I will be very happy to continue playing and send greetings up there to the great old-fashioned boy. Thanks, Mecca. (Tomas Rozkovec)

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I discovered Meky Žbirka sometime in 1983. I went to kindergarten and I was fascinated by the song “Biely kvet” on television. It was something quite different from what was common at the time. That’s why I probably noticed. To this day, I remember forcing her to my friend Filip, who was completely stolen from her. In the 1990s, Žbirka was mainly “Rhythmmick” for me, one of many music programs that I did not miss on television. But when I learned of Žbirka’s death, I was the first to reach for “Atlantis.” That song is sacred to me, even mystical. I don’t mind how drunk and obeyed she is, or how well I know her over the years. Despite this, he can always pull me out of anything and any mood into a state of digging and balancing. He slows down a person, makes him think. Over yourself, over your life or maybe the career of its great author and performer. At the same time, not much happens in that song. It is actually a simple song that is waiting for two graduations to graduate to the final. The pain that is slowly coming to go out. And even though I no longer remember when I first heard her, I will still spend the next few days with her anyway. And not just with her. (Honza Průša)

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Meky’s unexpected departure surprised me and made me very sad. At the beginning of September, I personally presented him with the award for 2nd place in the Singer of the Year category in the Žebřík music poll in Pilsen’s DEPO2015. His handshake was firm and sincere. So is mine, I wished it from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like his work or hate his personality. I liked that he always stayed his own, with a distinctive style, with distinguished behavior, with his role models, and in the local region and culture he often went a little against the current. At the same time, he still looked the same (good) and did not change with trends. He stood for his image and music, he was just a heartbreaker. It’s also been three years since I interviewed him about the currently released “Double Album”. That was the first time we met, and I was honored to meet him. He was humble, gallant, helpful and, of course, very talkative. I almost didn’t have to ask questions, and he said engagingly to stop. Probably every journalist’s dream. He willingly took pictures with me, stayed in a positive mood all the time, and occasionally made a joke. When the topic of this article came up in the newsroom, I sensed that my colleagues would mainly reach for ballads. I wanted to lighten it up, so I chose the song “22 Days”, to which my memory of college is attached. I remember that when we were studying at the state, my friend jokingly indicated with this song how many days we have left until that big day. Ever since I heard her on the radio, I remember with a smile this period, which fortunately ended with the hit “Engineering”. It’s just a song that is relaxed, cheerful, but at the same time with a pinch of melancholy. And when I let go of the original intention of the author, the text humorously fits me even in the state period: “Only 22 days and so don’t forget, time is running out. It flows like water, I don’t know who will give me courage …” and in the final “… the picture will remain a frame …” – as well as memories. Memories of songs, memories of Meky. Master, thank you. (Hanka Bukáčková)

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And what is your favorite from Meky and why? Feel free to share with us your views on his songs and your hearts. 66861

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PUBLICIST: Songs of our hearts: Meky Žbirka

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